Thursday, 15 September 2011

Islam gave Man the Idea of Nationhood

In pre-Islamic times people lived in tribes and loyalty was to the tribe in quite an amoral way. That was because if your tribe did not protect you, then you would have no protection at all as an individual. 

It could be said that with Islam came the origins of nationhood.

Tribes can be people of the same race. 

Different tribes can agree to put their differences aside and become a nation. 

Do they have to be of the same race? suggests that a nation just means people of different races agreeing to regard themselves as one despite tribal and racial differences as long as they agree to adhere to a common set of rules and a common outlook on morality.

From this idea came the idea of a nation being bigger and better than a tribe, because only a nation is in fact small enough to care and big enough to matter.  

Apart from giving the warring tribes of Arabia a bigger and better concept of human organisation, I like to think that the Koran is a kind of tick list of success or failure. The more your society adheres to it, the more likely you are to be successful.

Of course there are plenty of Muslim nations who do call themselves Muslim but do not in fact do what the Koran says. 

There are even nations that are unconsciously Muslim, and I would suggest that Britain in a previous age was more Muslim then than now, even though there are more Muslims here now.

The more Koranic commandments your society follows, the more likely it is to be peaceful and flourishing.  

The more it strays from the Koran, the more disordered and self-destructive it becomes.  

Gaddafi's troubles had a lot to do with not fixing the divisiveness of the tribal system in Libya. He thought it was enough to prefer his own dominant tribe, when it was in fact necessary as an act of nation-building to abolish the tribal system altogether.

We too are also far astray from the right path.


McGonagall said...

Before Islam we had the Roman Empire that encompassed most of western Europe and all of the Mediterranean basin. Citizens of Rome came from many different ethnicities. Before Rome there was UR, the Indus Valley Civilization, Egypt, Persia. There were many states in ancient times, long before Mohammed, that had developed away from tribalism.

Claire Khaw said...

The awful truth is that nations only come into being after war and revolution.

Rome was an empire.

Perhaps "nation" is a polite way of saying "empire" after its conquered peoples and lands have been completely absorbed.

McGonagall said...

The first Islamic state was, apparently, Medina in around 622 AD. The first Scottish state was the Kingdom of the Picts (which became known as Alba or Scotland) about 100 years before Mohammed's compact.

Anonymous said...

Just to point out not all Muslims believe Islam begins with muhammad (pbuh) for example the prayer and pilgrimage to the Kaba originate with Abraham (pbuh) and other aspects with the first prophets such as Adam and Noah.

For example some Muslims see themselves as part of an ummah including all who submit to 1 God - past, present and future. This includes people of the book (who may or may not call themselves Jews or Christians) and may exclude some who do call themselves Muslim.

U may have thought Muslim (noun) ummah = anyone who says they r Muslim.
However for me Muslim or submitting (verb to submit) ummah = anyone submitting to 1 God - past present and future.

Claire Khaw said...

I suppose you could say that the Ummah are those who recognise each other as Muslims.

Being an atheist, I would substitute God with "Truth, Reality and Reason".

Claire Khaw said...

What sort of nation was this Scottish State to which you refer as the Kingdom of Picts? Is a kingdom a nation?